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Survivors All

Our culture reveres survivors … and rightly so! The stories of concentration camp and holocaust survivors so stir our emotions, we often see these stories turned into movies. The Diary of Anne Frank was produced multiple times. I’m surprised The Hiding Place (from 1975) hasn’t been remade. In 2014, Unbroken was produced and directed by actress Angelina Jolie who deemed the survivor story of Louis Zamperini compelling.

Cancer survivors have their unique stories. Sexual assault survivors reveal horrific tales of abuse and torture. Given the admiration we accord survivors today, marketers exploit our curiosity by producing numerous movies, games and television series with a survival theme. (I must confess my fascination with Alone, now in its third season on the History Channel.) Continue Reading →

My Days Are Numbered

Given the bleak title, people may automatically expect to read a wretched tale announcing I’ve contracted a dreadful (probably incurable) illness. Not so for this post, though there’s no avoiding the truth:  my days are numbered.

Frankly, so are yours. Though we try to forget it, we are all mortal. As 2016 wound down and the obits began to stack up, we became ever more cranky reading the list of friends, family, celebs and high-profile individuals whose days had ended, some whose days were seemingly “cut short.” Mortality sucks, doesn’t it?

Bad-temper seems incompatible with ushering in a New Year. Usually, it’s celebrations, parties, champagne and fireworks, plus people flocking to New York City for the Times Square Ball Drop. But this year, people expressed open animosity toward the waning year. A headline from WIRED proclaimed:  Goodbye, 2016. We Couldn’t Take It Anymore. Continue Reading →

Between Friends

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. You’ve probably heard a version of this message from the Ad Council, a gentle caution for drivers and passengers alike.Friends-Dont-Let-406606-web

I’ve decided a similar message should apply with respect to social media. Maybe something like this:  Friends don’t let friends contrive junk. I know, I know! It’s clunky and doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as the Ad Council declaration. But the meaning should resonate.

The sterile contrivance that is social media purports to keep us “connected” to friends and family. In truth, it’s a time-consuming distraction that draws us away from numerous activities and human interactions which once occupied our time and attention.

Social media in its varied applications also tends to work as an echo chamber … a mishmash of individual posts to which others respond by clicking share or like. But for me, the dreaded copy, paste and post if you agree is most exasperating. What if I agree with a post but choose not to copy, paste and post? Is my non-compliance misconstrued? (Oh, dear! What will people think if I don’t comply?) Continue Reading →

The Fragrance of Life

Southern Living has long been one of my favorite magazines, one of the few print magazines to which I steadfastly subscribe. While leafing through a recent issue newly retrieved from my mailbox, one full-page ad (pictured below) caught my eye. Now you might assume the radiant, air-brushed smile is what drew my attention … but no.Happiness-1b

Maybe it was the fragrance ? If you’ve thumbed through a print magazine lately, you may have noticed an uptick in scent strip promos for perfume and cologne products. Scent strips can be helpful. They provide fragrance samples so you won’t plunk down a substantial sum just to learn the scent is awful. But the multiple competing scents in a magazine’s single issue might easily lead to sensory overload!

So, no, it wasn’t the toothy expression nor the unexpectedly subtle fragrance, both of which are skillfully designed to generate interest and drive sales. Surprisingly, the text drew me in!

Take a closer look at the tag line:  Life is beautiful. The Fragrance of Happiness.

With a simple search, I learned there were other tag-lines attached to Lancôme’s La vie est belle advertising. The overall theme of Life is beautiful extends naturally from the French phrase. One tag-line declared Life is beautiful. Live It Your Way. Another:  Life is beautiful. Choose Your Own Path to Happiness.

Notwithstanding its variations, Lancôme appears to have settled on The Fragrance of Happiness as its primary tag-line. Continue Reading →

Service To A Cruel God

Today’s news that the convicted Boston Marathon bomber had been formally sentenced to death didn’t surprise me. That awful atrocity from April 2013 cut short the lives of three people (one was an eight-year-old boy) and left 260 others injured, some maimed. They gunned down a fourth victim during the manhunt that followed the bombing.Boston-MarathonThese were despicable acts perpetrated by two radicalized Islamic individuals. (No, I have no intention of using either of their names.) Today’s proceedings in a Massachusetts courtroom included three hours of statements from victims and families of the victims before the convicted bomber broke his two-year silence. Continue Reading →

That Mean, Fickle Woman

One of the singers from the 60s was a guy named James Darren. I first remember him from his role as a teen idol on The Donna Reed Show. He was more than a musician though as he enjoyed a varied career on television and in films. His biggest hit on the pop charts was a 1961 song called Goodbye Cruel World.

Like many songs of that era, this one was certainly silly. Still, it became a top ten hit, reaching number three on the Billboard Top 100 and was also popular in the UK. Continue Reading →

Purging History

When our older son purchased his first vehicle, he was about sixteen years old. He wanted a pickup truck and found a 1984 Dodge that appeared to be a dependable vehicle. After he purchased it, he began making modifications. I recall he put lifts on it and he painted it a dull camouflage green. (There were other things as well that I’ve likely forgotten.) He loved that vehicle. The picture below isn’t his truck, but a similar version.We were glad he enjoyed spending time fixing up his truck and making it an expression of his personality. However, we put our foot down when it came to one specific attachment he’d planned – he wanted to hang a Confederate battle flag in the rear window. We told him we thought that was an especially bad idea. Continue Reading →

The Right to Define

UPDATE:  Yesterday (6/17/15) on the World Magazine website, Editor Marvin Olasky made a similar comparison to this post, also citing the quote below.

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” If you’re not familiar with this quote, you may find it to be an interesting statement. I have. (I’ll wait a bit before I tell you who said it.)Liberty

If ever this statement applied to our culture, I think it would be today. At first blush, the statement carries the veneer of ringing true. Liberty, one of the lofty concepts on which our country was founded, has become the cry of many … and seemingly understood only by the few. Continue Reading →

Where Is Excellence?

Earlier this month, I posted a video of the most honest “commencement” speech young graduates of today should be required to hear. Almost every day this week, I’ve talked with at least one person (most of whom were educators) who expressed his or her deep concern about the current state of education and learning in our country.Scholarship-clip-art-300x264In my state, there’s been an ongoing discussion about Common Core and the state Board of Education has been re-evaluating. Earlier this week, it appeared they’d be adopting another curriculum. However, decision-makers have ruled against the recommendations of a review committee and the process is dividing educators and reviewers. Continue Reading →

End of A Female Eunuch

It’s a difficult time in the world of feminism. Feminist icon Germaine Greer has wandered off the straight and narrow reservation causing the feminist troops considerable angst.3Greer

Appearing at the Hay Festival the end of May, Greer wasn’t shy about criticizing (1) Jane Fonda, (2) Elton John and his partner, (3) “fertility barons” associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF), as well as others. Given Greer’s apparent defection from feminist orthodoxy, it seems she’s alienating the people who once admired her. I mean, it simply won’t do to lampoon Jane Fonda or Elton John … or anyone else who faithfully toes the line of radical feminist rhetoric! Continue Reading →

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